The pursuit of more is something that drives all of us. My experience is no different.
Prior to my time at University of Redlands, I wanted more knowledge, more tools, and more access to making systemic changes and staying up-to-date with the latest field-based research to guide policies and procedures that ensure equity. After much exploration of schools in the area as well online, it was the incorporation of meaningful experience within the curriculum as well as the commitment to social justice at the University of Redlands that piqued my interest. I knew that I had to be a bulldog.
Upon joining the University of Redlands School Counseling program, my thirst for more drove me into the arms of the Graduate Student Association (GSA) - a group who operates under three tenets: collaboration, advocacy, and engagement. In aligning with those key facets, the GSA serves as a platform for partnership between students, faculty, and administration by creating space for concerns and unique needs of the graduate students. I am proud to have held the GSA position of Department Liaison for the Department of Counseling and Human Services for the past year. I am fortunate to have been given the opportunity to participate in an organization that aligns so closely with the beliefs that I hold as they pertain to the counseling profession.
The work that GSA has and hopes to continue to accomplish is facilitated through the focus on education and social justice within our programs. My experience with GSA has proven invaluable to my growth and development as a counselor, and has allowed me to build the confidence to become immersed in my field through organizations such as the American College Counseling Association and the Association for Higher Education And Disabilities. Through the use of GSA’s professional development funds, I was able to attend and present at the NACADA Global Community for Academic Advising regional conference. The funds offered to me as part of my growth process allowed me to stretch myself and my leadership capabilities to become a more concrete part of the Community. The transferable skills learned as a GSA member have become invaluable in allowing me to network and provide my expertise at conferences such as this.
Getting involved with the Graduate Student Association
Through my journey, I have discovered that my desire to work in the field of higher education is enriched by my newfound expertise in building relationships and transforming lives through the pursuit of social justice, inclusion, educational guidance, and mental health advocacy - all of which are skills that I honed throughout my College Counseling program at U of R. The discussion around barriers to access has led me to develop my counseling philosophy and shape my craft to allow for a safe space where students can rehearse prosocial behavior, practice conflict/resolution strategies, and advocate for themselves. This is only enhanced through the GSA experience and toll that have developed from my involvement in such. My time in the GSA has allowed me to not only survive grad school, but to thrive in my professional community. It is an honor to be a member of this organization that has provided me with so many invaluable opportunities that have propelled my career.
If interested in joining the Graduate Student Association or learning more, please email the Graduate Student Association at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Graduate Student Association | University of Redlands.